Thailand accident #1 – Trail biking
I’ve always been pretty bad on a motorbike, I even had to sell my 125cc because I was just so crap on it. So why the hell I decided to go trail biking through the jungle in Thailand, I do not know. In fact, I was so terrible that I fell off the motorbike so much so that it later malfunctioned and the brakes became stuck on the road journey back. The bike skidded and flew me to the tarmac where this time I was not so lucky. My wrist hurt like hell but basically, as nice as the Thai staff were at the bike centre, after earlier surprised remarks and jokes at the sight of a girl doing trail biking I felt like I had something to prove.
So I sucked it up and we continued along the road back to the centre until the pain in my left hand became so much that I couldn’t even grip the handle let alone pull in the clutch, so I surrendered to the pain. They called somebody to pick me up and when I jumped into the truck I eagerly and curiously removed my glove to sneak a glance at the damage. And there it was, a lump the size of half a golf ball sticking out the top of my wrist. I cringed at the thought of it being my bone sticking out… And that was how I had my little accident in Thailand.
Chiang mai Maharaj Hospital
A few hours later we arrived at Chiangmai Maharaj hospital, a large government run hospital located outside of the old city. I found my way to the hospital registration desk to sign myself up and the lady pointed me in the direction of the department to go to. I wandered inside the busy Thai hospital ward and a staff member waved me over to his desk as another man crept up behind me and took my form from me. He then roughly grabbed my arm, completely unobservant of the large misshapen lump on top, and proceeded to slap a blood pressure monitor over the top of my shirt. I whinced and pulled back slightly as he roughed my arm up as if it had wronged him in some way. Then the other hospital staff member questioned me, glanced at my arm and pointed me over to the emergency room.
I actually found the Thai doctors in accident and emergency to be very warm and helpful – most of them seemed to be students at the hospital and they all spoke relatively good english. They rushed me over to a stretcher and made me lie down. I felt pretty stupid considering I’d only hurt my wrist – a stretcher seemed a little overkill when there was a patient opposite, unconscious and looking pretty messed up. My boyfriend, with his slightly irrational fear of dirt and hospitals, shuffled nervously at the sight of the grubby floor behind me. They were good at keeping me up to date on what was going on – probably better service than the hospitals in England in fact. At the same time though, they didn’t really seem like they knew much about what was going on with my injury. I had about a team of five Thai student doctors alternating between investigating and prodding away at me and then gathering around for a group discussion on what it could be.
They sent me for an x-ray after only an hour of arriving at the hospital – a porter wheeled me away on my stretcher and I couldn’t help but feel slightly embarrassed at being unnecessarily pushed around and on display for a wrist injury. When I arrived back at the hospital ward, another foreigner had arrived and she was tearfully led out on a stretcher while her male friend and the group of doctors lingered around her bed. One of the non-student doctors appeared beside me and excitedly explained that they were from Brazil; it was almost as if he was reuniting me with a long lost sister. He then went on, “she had a dog bite her!’ He then grinned jollily and made bitey impressions to which I felt a bit mean giggling at.
The girl next to me ended up having to pay a total of 7000 baht for her hospital treatment and a rabies shot – apparently it was a more expensive kind ‘made from human’ as they had run out of the kind ‘made from horse’. One of the doctors informed me that my wrist wasn’t broken, but was probably a torn ligament or muscle and that I shouldn’t use it and should keep it bandaged up. She didn’t seem particularly confident to be honest but I guess stuff like that can be hard to diagnose when it’s still so swollen. And I certainly can’t fault her customer service after she kept me updated practically every 10 minutes.
All in all my Thailand hospital visit was not a bad experience at all (ignoring the overly aggressive blood pressure guy). For two hours worth of attention from the team of Thai scrubs, two bandages, an x-ray and a goodie bag of drugs it only cost me 691 baht. That’s not even £15 or $20….
Whatever! At least now I have an excuse to wear a cool ninja glove-looking splint…
Read about my Thailand hospital experience #2 here